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Oystein
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Re: State of the Challenge 2009
« Reply #15 on: Mar 6th, 2009, 6:10am »
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I predict a breakthrough will occur and the challenge will fall around 2015.
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Fritzlein
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Re: 2009 Arimaa Challenge
« Reply #16 on: Mar 6th, 2009, 10:27am »
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on Mar 4th, 2009, 7:35pm, 99of9 wrote:
In the year it falls, surprise will be an essential element of the bot's win.  That is, after losing, humans will find areas of weakness that will enable them to win reasonably often.

I forgot to respond to the element of surprise.  That's an interesting point because Kasparov was definitely surprised by Deep Blue's ability to make progress in a closed position, so surprised that he (A) resigned in disgust when he could have salvaged a draw, and (B) accused the Deep Blue team of cheating by having a human give advice.
 
On the other hand, although we know Kasparov was surprised, we don't know whether he could have recovered enough to win a longer match.  I expect he could have come back in 1997, but subsequent man-vs-machine matches showed that Deep Blue's win was no fluke.
 
By the time software can win the Arimaa Challenge, it should be mature enough to have no obviously exploitable flaws, and therefore will not benefit much from surprise.  If some bot can win with a surprise trick, then some other bot will shortly thereafter be able to permanently win with no surprises.  In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter much whether the Challenge falls a year earlier or a year later if the trend is relentless and clear, as it is in chess.
 
To an individual developer, however, it makes a world of difference whether he wins it this year or someone else wins it next year.  When it looks like two or three bots each have a reasonable chance to win the Challenge, the collaborative information sharing among developers that has ruled so far will probably give way to secrecy.  Also, if I'm still playing Arimaa at that time and I am still good enough to be a Challenge defender, I will probably become completely partisan to human players, and therefore stop pointing out to developers when I spot a bot weakness.  Human players might start keeping secrets up their sleeves as well.
« Last Edit: Mar 6th, 2009, 10:29am by Fritzlein » IP Logged

99of9
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Re: 2009 Arimaa Challenge
« Reply #17 on: Mar 6th, 2009, 5:08pm »
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on Mar 6th, 2009, 10:27am, Fritzlein wrote:
By the time software can win the Arimaa Challenge, it should be mature enough to have no obviously exploitable flaws, and therefore will not benefit much from surprise.

What I mean is, I expect that there *will* be easily exploitable flaws, but they won't be obvious until humans have had time to play a few games after the challenge.  Once they are found, most humans will be able to execute the exploit.
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omar
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Re: 2009 Arimaa Challenge
« Reply #18 on: Mar 6th, 2009, 5:19pm »
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on Mar 4th, 2009, 8:04am, Fritzlein wrote:
But do you think that the tide has turned and the human advantage will get smaller from this year forward?

 
Your question sounds so tempting to answer, but when I think about all the factors that come into play it is mind boggling and it will be incredibly hard to predict what that curve will look like.
 
My short answer would be no, because there is still a lot of room for humans to get better. But its fun to think about the factors that are involved.
 
For the bots we can certainly expect continued improvements in the immediate future, but the rate of improvement might change at various times. This is because the source of increased performance in bots are either software advances or hardware advances.
 
Today Bomb will be playing a decisive game and could get knocked out of the tournament if it loses. I think this may get Fotland to improve Bomb to at least make it multi-threaded and perhaps add some knowledge about the game. Bomb sort of reminds me of the hare in 'The Tortoise and the Hare' fable Smiley But the active developers will surely want to keep the lead and so the international bot race should really start to heat up. I think there are still a lot of tweaks that the developers can make before it starts getting to the point of questionable improvements. Perhaps in about 5 years the evaluation code for the bots will get to the point where it is just too many factors for a human to tweak properly. At that time the bots will hopefully hit the end of the conventional tree search software improvement ramp and have to start looking for a paradigm shift (a.k.a. the breakthrough).
 
Interestingly enough there is an editorial in the current issue of the ICGA journal title "GO FOR A BREAKTHROUGH" that talks about how the Monte-Carlo search method has emerged as a significant breakthrough in Go. Also mentions how David Fotland made a new version of his program based on this and jumped to the head of the pack again. The hare woke up, but it wasn't too late Smiley
 
In addition to the software improvement ramp the bots are currently also riding the hardware improvement ramp. However I think the slope of this ramp has decreased in the past 6 years. Prior to 2002 the processors were getting faster each year due to both faster clock cycles and greater transistor density (i.e. more transistors per chip). Lately the clock cycles have not been increasing as much so the gains are now mostly due to increasing number of transistors per chip and reorganizing the chips into multiple CPU cores. We are nearing a time when another major paradigm shift is needed within the next 10 years to keep the ever increasing computation/dollar ramp going. Maybe we will shift from an era of transistors to an era of memristors http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memristor. What actually happens in this area will have an effect on the bot performance curve.
 
For humans also I think we can certainly expect continued improvements in the immediate future. Here also the rate of improvement might change at various times. The key sources that fuel the level of human performance I think are: the total number of active players, the recorded knowledge about the game and the ability for players to make a living from the game. Without these even a person who could potentially reach an astronomical Arimaa rating would hit various obstacles that would hinder or limit their progress.
 
A large playing population increases the chance that some of the very best human players for the game are actually playing the game. It also increases the number of high quality games being played everyday. This helps to push the ability of the top players beyond the current level.
 
Just having a large playing population is not enough. The new players need ways to quickly come up to speed without having to reinvent everything. As we document and share the knowledge that has been gained about the game, it will allow new talented players to get to the cutting edge of the game more quickly. But once they get there even these talented players with all the current knowledge about the game available to them will hit a different kind of limit. The limit of time itself. It is not that they don't have the potential to get better, but rather that they can't devote their full time and attention to getting better. Also it just takes time to learn, practice and get better; there is no short cut. To allow players to get past this barrier Arimaa will need to become a game where people can make a living playing it. Fortunately there is a lot of room to improve before we get to that point.
 
Beyond this I think we will hit the limit of human thinking capacity which will be insurmountable without drugs or other unnatural aids. Once we get to that level then for sure the human advantage will get smaller each year until the bots eventually pass us up by just riding the improvements in hardware. Hopefully that won't happen before 2020 with a breakthrough in software.
 
But who knows how high this limit of human thinking capacity is. In terms of elo ratings I hope its about 3500. So if the bots are rated 2000 now and pack on 100 elo points per year, it would take 15 years for them to get to this level. But how fast will it take for humans to reach this level. My guess is probably at least 15 years with a large active playing population and our current best ratings being around 2500.
 
The Arimaa challenge is not just a challenge for the bots programmers, but also a challenge for the human players to try and stay ahead. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
 
« Last Edit: Mar 7th, 2009, 7:10am by omar » IP Logged
Fritzlein
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Re: 2009 Arimaa Challenge
« Reply #19 on: Mar 6th, 2009, 8:06pm »
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on Mar 6th, 2009, 5:19pm, omar wrote:
But who know how high this limit of human thinking capacity is. In terms of elo ratings I hope its about 3500. So if the bots are rated 2000 now and pack on 100 elo points per year, it would take 15 years for them to get to this level. But how fast will it take for humans to reach this level. My guess is probably at least 15 years with a large active playing population and our current best ratings being around 2500.

These are the predictions of a true optimist: Both humans and computer programs will reach astronomical heights of Arimaa skill!  I'm not the optimist I once was, but I still always hope the optimists are right in their predictions.
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omar
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Re: State of the Challenge 2009
« Reply #20 on: Mar 8th, 2009, 7:03am »
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I've always thought you were more optimistic than me Smiley
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Fritzlein
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Re: State of the Challenge 2009
« Reply #21 on: Mar 8th, 2009, 7:18pm »
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on Mar 8th, 2009, 7:03am, omar wrote:
I've always thought you were more optimistic than me Smiley

In general perhaps, but you far outstrip my optimism for the pace of improvement of Arimaa players, bot and human alike.  And in your expectations for the sale of Arimaa sets and books, your optimism is off the charts.  Smiley
« Last Edit: Mar 8th, 2009, 9:55pm by Fritzlein » IP Logged

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Re: State of the Challenge 2009
« Reply #22 on: Mar 9th, 2009, 3:50am »
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Keeping in mind that hopefully arimaa is harder for computers to play than chess, I expect a large arimaa playing pool to be a guarantee that humans will remain unsurpassed by computers, since the legion of chess bot-developers have only achieved a minimum edge for bots (the high rating difference doesn't reflect the true because of anti-computer strategies).
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Re: State of the Challenge 2009
« Reply #23 on: Mar 14th, 2009, 7:04am »
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First some thoughts,
 
Humans have a clear edge when the position is not tactical. Even at the current level of human skill, this advantage will remain for several years.
 
When the position is complicated, but the board is still relatively full, humans also have an edge. However, this advantage will not last as long.
 
When the position is complicated and the board is empty enough that there are goal threats, humans and bots are about equal. By next year bots will have the edge in this area. These types of positions are all about calculating variations, and thats what bots are good at.
 
If the current level of human skill remains about the same, the challenge will be over in 5 years. The known arimaa strategies can all be taught to a bot without too much difficulty. After that, it is just the case of investing the time to actually do it.
 
If someone new comes along and plays arimaa at a 3000 level, then the challenge will be safe. This will require new strategic discoveries.
 
 
 
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Fritzlein
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Re: State of the Challenge 2009
« Reply #24 on: Mar 16th, 2009, 3:30pm »
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on Mar 2nd, 2009, 11:49am, Fritzlein wrote:
...a capture race that turns into a goal race definitely fits into the loose definition of tactical that Omar presents, but winning such a race against a bot is entirely possible, as blue22 has demonstrated repeatedly.  If blue22 can chop to goal in about four turns in the northeast while a bot can chop to goal in about six turns in the southwest, it doesn't matter if the bot is a little better than him at racing; blue22 is still going to win the race.
 
My point is that strategic judgment stands at the beginning of every tactical race.  I don't think the bots can beat us with a mantra of "always complicate", because very often the move that makes the position wilder also concedes some disadvantage.  For example, I suspect that part of the new strength of clueless is that it is eager to enter races rather than remaining tame (like Bomb) when the elephants are deadlocked.  But clueless totally lacks the ability to distinguish a favorable race from an unfavorable one.

Thank you naveed, for making my forecast seems prescient with this game.  Apparently the day has not yet arrived when we have to avoid slugging it out with bots.  Of course, I'll probably be too chicken to do this myself in the Challenge games, but that is my problem, not humanity's.
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99of9
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Re: State of the Challenge 2009
« Reply #25 on: Mar 17th, 2009, 5:04am »
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Well the humans are really smashing the bots so far this year, only one loss out of the first sixteen games!
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Fritzlein
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Re: State of the Challenge 2009
« Reply #26 on: Mar 17th, 2009, 8:23am »
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True, true.  I am thrilled by humanity's current run.  But since this thread is for long-term forecasts, I may just make myself look silly by getting caught up in the present.   Tongue
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Fritzlein
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Re: 2009 Arimaa Challenge
« Reply #27 on: Apr 18th, 2009, 2:09pm »
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on Mar 4th, 2009, 7:35pm, 99of9 wrote:
In the year it falls, the strongest human opponent will hang a piece during one of his/her losses.

Wow, it didn't take long for this to look prophetic.  I hung a dog already!  But I guess this isn't the year it falls, and I'm not the strongest defender, so your prediction is not yet decided.  Tongue
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Isaac Grosof
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Re: State of the Challenge 2009
« Reply #28 on: Apr 20th, 2009, 4:22pm »
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I think predicting what will happen is fundamentally flawed. There is no way to tell. An enormously powerful computer could come out, arimaa might become more popular, etc.
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Sorry about that one thing.
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Re: State of the Challenge 2009
« Reply #29 on: Feb 4th, 2019, 8:58pm »
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on Mar 6th, 2009, 6:10am, Oystein wrote:
I predict a breakthrough will occur and the challenge will fall around 2015.

 
Right on.
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